Thanks to my colleague Natascha Wallace for this idea. Basically it’s a list of advanced expressions, grouped by topic, for C1/C2 students and sets of conversation questions on those same topics. The idea being that they can drop them into their writings or use them in the speaking exam in order to score more points. Alternatively, beyond the world of exams, they will undoubtedly be useful IRL! Download the handouts below:
Have students read the expressions in the first category and try to guess the meaning in pairs. Clear up any doubts in open class.
Tell students they have 1 minute to try to memorise as many of the expressions in the category as they can. After 1 minute tell them to turn their papers over. Students then play “ping-pong” in pairs one person says one expression and the other must say another back and forth until one can’t remember any more expressions. After they’ve played a couple of rounds tell them to look at the expressions again and refresh their memories of the ones they struggled to remember.
Then hand out the conversation questions and have students discuss them in groups of 3. One member of the group should act as the examiner, asking the questions and also counting the number of killer expressions each person uses. Encourage students to have fun with it and use as many as they can.
Then move onto the next category, rinse and repeat.
There are a lot of categories so you may want to split it over several classes.
This is a guest post by Katy Wright. Students take part in an information gap activity in pairs in order to develop their understanding of phrasal verbs and other fixed expressions. Download the handout below:
A simple worksheet and discussion activity in which students look at 21 different phrasal verbs featuring either up or down. Download the student handout and answer key below, follow the link at the bottom of the post for a Kahoot game based on the target language:
This is a lesson plan for C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency students on the topic of non-profit organisations like the WWF. Students read a short text about the organisation then work on phrasal verbs associated with the topic. Download the handout and key below:
The procedure is pretty straightforward. First students answer the introductory questions designed to activate their schemata and encourage them to predict the content of the text. They then read the text briefly to see if their predictions were correct. They then focus on the meaning of the phrasal verbs, then recall the prepositions/particles and finally put them into practice in a speaking activity.
Save the Planet – Phrasal Verbs
Ask and answer the questions with a partner:
Think of some national or international organisations dedicated to protecting the environment.
What do these organisations do?
How effective are they?
What problems/difficulties do they encounter?
What can people do to support these organisations more?
Read the text quickly. Does it mention any of the things you discussed in the introduction?
Look at the phrasal verbs and expressions in bold and match them with the definitions below.
The World Wide Fund for Nature
Every day more and more trees are being cut down in the rainforests of the world wiping out hundreds of species. The current deforestation rate amounts to 3 football pitches per minute. Precious water supplies are being used up meaning that still more animals and plants are dying out. If we step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s not just animals and plants that are affected. The rainforests are the Earth’s lungs and further damage will only lead to misery for all life on the planet.
Our organisation aims to put pressure on governments all over the world to make them step up and take responsibility for the environment. Governments need to crack down on bad practices such as illegal logging and mining in rainforests. Sadly, we’re coming up against a lot of resistance from big business but that won’t stop us standing up for the animal kingdom. We’re looking for volunteers to chip in in any way they can; handing out leaflets in the street or drumming up support online are just two ways we can get our message across. Join us today by clicking the link below!
1. Help/contribute money 2. Kill or cause to die on a large scale 3. Be faced with 4. Make people hear/understand information 5. Cause
6. Mentally withdraw from a situation 7. Try to increase/encourage support for something 8. Become extinct 9. Introduce strong restrictions 10. Give something to people
11. Cause to fall 12. Defend verbally or physically 13. Consume all of something 14. Total/add up to 15. Take action when it’s needed
Try to remember the missing prepositions in the questions below without looking at the text. Then ask and answer the questions.
How effective do you think practices like handing _____ leaflets actually are?
Have you ever done anything to drum ______ support for a charity or other organisation?
What do you think governments should crack ____ ____ in your country?
Think of some endangered animals. Which one would you be saddest about if it died _____ completely?
What do you think is the most effective way for an organisation like the WWF to get its message _______? Online? In person?
What do you think are the most difficult issues that charities like the WWF come ____ ______ when trying to help the environment?
If you use ____ all the toilet paper, do you always replace it?
Think of a time when a friend or family member stood ____ _____ you in a difficult situation.
Now think of a time when nobody stood ____ _____ you. Or when you failed to stand _____ _____ a friend.
Who has the biggest responsibility to step ____ and take responsibility for the environment? Governments? Businesses? The general public? Why?
When it’s a friend’s birthday, is it better if they receive lots of little presents or if everyone chips ____ and gets them one big present. Which would you prefer on your birthday?
If you added up all your screen time in one day, how much would it amount ____? Do you want to cut _____? Why? Why not?
This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for higher level students based around an example of a holiday diary. It works well as a model for CPE article tasks about travelling. Download the power point and handout below:
Show the power point and have students discuss the questions as a warmer.
Give out the handout and have students complete the exercises.
Encourage students to write a similar holiday diary for homework.
What do you know about Madagascar? Have you ever been there? Would you like to?
Read the text and tell your partner is this type if holiday would be your cup of tea.
We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really cut it for us so after umming and ahhing for a few months we finally settled on a trip to Madagascar. We had set our sights on exploring the denseundergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a glimpse of some of its famed wildlife.
We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is bustling with life with a mindboggling network of haphazard back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ear for the rest of the trip so we set about looking for a guide to take us into the lush vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a mix-up with our luggage that set us back 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.
As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty grimy and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a sorry sight, not what we’d been led to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature comforts so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.
We were up at the crack of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the middle of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit hairy as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to behold, never before have I seen such an awe-inspiring sight…
Read the text again and decide if these statements are true of false.
The author likes beach holidays T/F
Antananarivo is a difficult city to navigate around T/F
They had the whole trip planned out beforehand T/F
Their luggage was put on the wrong plane T/F
They liked Antananarivo T/F
The hotel was different to the description in the brochure T/F
They don’t mind roughing it T/F
The journey to the rainforest was relaxing T/F
They were impressed by the views from the foothill T/F
Look at the expressions in bold, discuss their meaning with a partner.
Look at the expressions again and try to categorise them.
What can you remember? Work with a partner.
We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really ___ (1) it for us so after ________(2) and ahhing for a few months we finally settled ______(3) a trip to Madagascar. We had set our ___________(4) on exploring the _________(5) undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a ____________(6) of some of its famed wildlife.
We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is ___________(7) with life with a mindboggling network of ________________ (8) back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ________(9) for the rest of the trip so we set __________(10) looking for a guide to take us into the ___________(11) vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a _________(12) with our luggage that set us _________(13) 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.
As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty ________(14) and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a ________ (15) sight, not what we’d been __________(16) to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature ______________(17) so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.
We were up at the ____________(18) of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the ____________(19) of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit __________(20) as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to ________(21) never before have I seen such an awe-______________(22) sight…
Cover the text and try to retell the story using as much of the vocabulary as you can.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Tell your partner about it using the vocabulary.
Project the power point and have students try to guess what the text they’re going to read is about by flashing up the picture and the keywords 2 at a time. Students continue predicting until all the key words are visible.
Article: Reading comprehension, vocab focus and discussion
Go through the activities on the hand out, answer key for comprehension questions is at the bottom.
Barcelona marches to curb negative effects of tourism boom
Community groups join forces to protest over soaring level of rents fuelled by a big rise in visitor numbers
Behind banners reading “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”, some 2,000 people staged an “occupation” of the Rambla, the city’s famed boulevard, on Saturday.
The protest was organised by a coalition of more than 40 resident and community groups from all over the city, not just the neighbourhoods most directly affected by mass tourism.
Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016 an estimated 9 million people stayed in hotels and a further 9 million in holiday apartments. In addition, the city received around 12 million day-trippers arriving by car and train or on cruise ships.
Tourists looked on bemused as the banners were unfurled at the top of the Rambla, beside the Canaletes fountain.
“I don’t understand. What do they mean, Barcelona is not for sale?” asked Qais from Kuwait. “It’s not what we were expecting, but I can see their point,” he said when it had been explained to him. He added: “Things are really bad in the Middle East,” which put things in perspective. “Does it mean they don’t want us here?” his wife asked. Birgid from Denmark was less sympathetic. “Tourism brings in lots of money to the city, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s changed the city, but that’s life, isn’t it?”
Roger from Wigan, here on his second visit, commented: “I can understand it, the place is very commercial. And if I understand what’s written on some of these placards, they are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up.I can sympathise with that.”
This was one of the key issues behind the march, as the money to be made from holiday lets is forcing rents up and driving people out of the city.
Christine, an Englishwoman on the march who has lived in Barcelona for more than 20 years, said: “We’ve been renting our flat in the old town for 17 years. In that time I reckon we’ve paid around €150,000 in rent. Now they want to kick us out because they can make more money renting it out to tourists.”
The march coincides with a new law passed by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, seeks to curb tourism. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation aims to limit the number of beds on offer from hotels and apartments by imposing a moratorium on building new hotels. No new licences will be issued for tourist apartments.
There are currently 75,000 hotel beds in the city and around 100,000 beds in tourist flats, at least half of them unlicensed and illegal. The city is at loggerheads with Airbnb, the principal letting agency. Last year the council fined Airbnb and HomeAway €600,000 each for advertising unlicensed apartments.
Airbnb argues that the overwhelming majority of its clients in the city are people who are letting out rooms as a way of making ends meet during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.
“That may be true up to a point, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,” says Daniel Pardo, a member of the Neighbourhood Assembly for Sustainable Tourism. Yet people are free to visit the city, so what’s to stop them?
“One thing we could do is stop spending millions on promoting tourism,” says Pardo. “We’re subsidising tourism with public money, by exploiting workers in the service economy and exploiting the infrastructure of the city, which we citizens pay for. Furthermore, tourism is distorting the economy and there is little support for anyone who wants to establish non-tourist enterprises.”
The good-humoured march moved to the seaward end of the Rambla, where one of the organisers read out a manifesto calling for more local shops, more homes, rather than businesses, and control of the pollution caused by private cars and cruise ships. “It’s a great turnout,” one of the marchers quipped. “There are more people here than at Trump’s inauguration. The citizens have never been consulted about this, although they’re the ones who suffer the consequences and aren’t enjoying the benefits. [We’re asking for] the debate to be opened to everyone and that we reach some other resolution of the problem, instead of the present one based on continuous growth.”
Who organised the march?
How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year?
How did tourists feel about the march?
What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents?
How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists?
How does airbnb defend itself?
What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make?
The march was very serious and angry true/false
Work with a partner, look at the underlined expressions in the text, what do you think they mean?
Now try to complete the expressions from memory:
This was one of the k____ issues behind the march,
The protest was organised by a c____________ of more than 40 resident and community groups.
Visitor numbers have grown e_______________ in recent years.
Now they want to k_______ us out because they can make more money renting it o_______ to tourists.”
The money to be made from h_______ lets is f_______ rents up and d________ people out of the city.
They are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can s________ with that.
The city is at l____________ with Airbnb.
A new law p_________ by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, s_________ to c___________ tourism.
The special urban plan for tourist accommodation a______ to limit the number of beds ____ offer from hotels and apartments by i__________ a m__________ on building new hotels.
Airbnb argues that the o___________ majority of its clients in the city are people who are l___________ out rooms as a way of m_______ ends m________ during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.
“That m_______ be true up to a p________, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,”
The citizens have never been c__________ about this, although they’re the ones who s_________ the consequences and aren’t e_________ the b___________.
“It’s a great t____________,”
Language of opinion
Complete the sentences with one word to make expressions of opinion.
F_____________ where I stand,
In my h_____________ opinion,
As f________ as I’m concerned,
A_______ I see it,
I don’t have very s___________ views on the matter but,…
I t___________ to agree with people who say…
If you a______ me, I’d say that…
I’m co___________ that…
From my p_______ of v__________,
Speaking from p____________ ex______________,
I’m a big s________________ of…
I’m d_______ against…
I’m a f__________ believer in….
What do you think of the march? Are you in agreement with their message?
Would you consider protesting on the issue?
What are the pros and cons of tourism in your city?
How does tourism affect your neighbourhood?
What experiences do you have of the downsides of tourism?
Do you think you have enjoyed the benefits of tourism? In what way?
Do you think tourism should be curbed in any way? If so, how?
Look at the language from the text, in what other contexts could you use it?
The city’s famed boulevard – what other things could be famed?
Stage an occupation – what other things can you stage?
A coalition of resident and community groups – what other coalitions can you think of?
Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. – What other things can grow exponentially?
“Puts things in perspective” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
Tourism brings in a lot of money. – What other things bring in money for a government/company?
“That’s life, isn’t it?” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
A new law passed by the council seeks to curb – What other things would the government pass laws to curb?
Now they want to kick us out – what other things could you be kicked out of?
The plan aims to limit the number of beds on offer. – What other things could be limited?
A manifesto calling for more local shops – What other things could a manifesto or a protest call for?
They’re the ones who are suffering the consequences and not enjoying the benefits? – What other things could you suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits of?
Comprehension Questions Key
Who organised the march? A coalition of residents & community groups
How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year? 9+9+12=30million
How did tourists feel about the march? Mixed emotions, some understanding, some bemused
What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents? Forcing rents up, driving people out
How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists? Laws to curb tourism, limits on flats, moratorium on new hotels
How does airbnb defend itself? Most hosts are just letting out spare rooms
What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make? Stop subsidising tourism with public money, infrastructure of the city is being exploited by tourism
The march was very serious and angry true/false. false, march was good-humoured
A possible letter task in the CAE is an informal letter to a friend recommending (or not) a course/activity/holiday you have been on. Below is an example:
You have recently been on a two week adventure holiday in a foreign country. A good friend writes to you because they are thinking about booking a holiday with the same company. You should describe the highlights of the holiday and any problems you encountered and state if you would recommend the experience to your friend.
How’s it going?
What’re you up to nowadays?
Lovely to hear from you.
It’s been ages since we last saw each other.
I hope all’s well.
Mixing good with bad
In the task you have to tell your friend about both the positive and negative sides of the activity. What I don’t want you to do is write one paragraph of good points and one of bad because who writes a letter like that? I want you to mix the good with the bad.
Despite/In spite of + noun
Despite/In spite of + the fact that + clause
In spite of the dreadful weather (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good)
Despite the fact that it poured with rain all week (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good)
Although/Even though + clause
Apart from + noun + relative clause
Even though the instructor didn’t speak English (bad), we still managed to pick up the basics. (good)
Apart from the first day when it poured, we had clear blue skies every day.
Apart from the taxi driver who tried to rip us off, all the people were lovely.
If you did decide to go, I could lend you…../I might come with you.
If I were you, I’d………..
If I were in your shoes, I’d………………
It would have been better if there had been…………
I would have been better if I had/hadn’t………………
If I had/hadn’t……………., we could have………….
Not only did we ….(do 1 activity), but also …….(another activity)
Not only did we learn how to ……….., but also ……………
Not only did we see lions and elephants, but also giraffes and monkeys.
To take up a hobby – to start doing a hobby
I have just taken up snowboarding.
To make up for – to compensate
The excellent food more than made up for the awful weather.
To pick up new skills – to acquire
I picked up some useful skills, such as……..
To get a lot out of something – to take benefit from something. (enjoyment, knowledge, etc.)
I got a lot out of the training sessions.
To catch up with someone – to share the latest news about your life with someone.
We should meet for a coffee and catch up.
To come across – to find unexpectedly (not people)
We were walking through the jungle when we came across some old ruined buildings.
To get on/along with someone – to like and be friendly with someone.